SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — On Sept. 11, 2023, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) arrested Francisco Furiel Ramos-Dominguez, Coral Rivera-Mercado and Robeletti Ramos-Pagan for conspiracy to possess controlled substances with intent to distribute after a grand jury returned an indictment against them on Sept. 6, 2023.
The investigation is one of many by the Airport Investigations and Tactical Team (AirTAT), which is an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force initiative. The team comprises multiple federal and state agencies, including HSI, Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Field Operations, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the FBI, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Puerto Rico Police Bureau, the Puerto Rico Ports Authority and the San Juan Municipal Police.
The indictment alleges that Ramos-Dominguez, Rivera-Mercado and Ramos-Pagan conspired to knowingly and intentionally possess with intent to distribute and distribute a mixture or substance containing 5 kilograms or more of cocaine, which is a Schedule 2 narcotic.
“The illicit drugs causing deaths are produced outside the United States and trafficked across our borders. Commercial airlines have been exploited by drug trafficking organizations for the transportation of narcotics. The AirTAT is responsible for safeguarding the airports in Puerto Rico,” said HSI San Juan Special Agent in Charge Rebecca González-Ramos. “These arrests are the result of a robust operation led by the AirTAT at the Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport. We will remain vigilant and committed to deter and dismantle drug trafficking organizations seeking to enrich themselves putting in danger the lives of others.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney Teresa Zapata-Valladares, deputy chief of the Gang Section, Special Assistant U.S. Attorney R. Vance Eaton, Assistant U.S. Attorney Hector Siaca of the Gang Section, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jorge. L. Matos of the Transnational Organized Crime Section are prosecuting the case.
If convicted, the defendants face statutory minimum sentences of 10 years.
An indictment is merely an allegation, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
This prosecution is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces Strike Force Initiative, which provides for the establishment of permanent multi-agency task force teams that work side-by-side in the same location. This co-located model enables agents from different agencies to collaborate on intelligence-driven, multijurisdictional operations to disrupt and dismantle the most significant drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs and transnational criminal organizations. The specific mission of the AirTAT is to identify, disrupt and dismantle large scale international drug trafficking and money laundering organizations affecting the local airports within the island.
For more information about HSI’s efforts against drug trafficking organizations or to report suspicious activities, call 787-729-6969.
HSI is the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel, and finance move. HSI’s workforce of more than 8,700 employees consists of more than 6,000 special agents assigned to 237 cities throughout the United States, and 93 overseas locations in 56 countries. HSI’s international presence represents DHS’ largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.